Monday, August 1, 2011

An Old Friend ~ A Sentimental Journey

Sometimes it’s the destination; other times the journey.
Sometimes it is both.  A Saturday afternoon jaunt to downtown Kirkland, less than five miles round trip from our home, highlighted a personal sentimental journey and sparked memories of similar journeys for others before the day was done. 

Mine is a journey that began 39 years ago. . .the year my ‘old friend’ and I first met . 

herbie 012
It was the summer of 1972 in a used car lot when I first laid eyes on the funny little green German-made ‘69 Volkswagen “Beetle”. 

This "Bug" as Beetles were often called, had been declared the perfect ‘college car’ by my father and thus a relationship was to begin that would transport me and my car through nearly four decades together.

Soon after driving the car off the lot, I christened him, Herbie, (as did most who owned VW Bugs in that era – thanks to Walt Disney' "Herbie the Love Bug" movie.) and that is how he continues to be known. He or him, but never it.

Herbie and I began our college-years journey traveling the same 37 mile stretch of Central Washington roadway weekend after weekend, from school to home and back again. Herbie took me to my first newspaper job and was with me as I moved from single-womanhood to my newlywed home.

0890350-R1-029-13 Our journey together seemed to hit a roadblock when Joel and I moved across the state, putting Herbie, quite literally, out to pasture at a relative’s home in Eastern Washington. After we got settled, Herbie would move as well. 

The years turned into decades and still my old – deteriorating– friend waited. The photo to the left is Herbie in 2003; long after the time I should have moved my trusted old friend. Restoration got underway that fall and continued for several years.

Herbie’s Kirkland homecoming was in November 2009 (the photo at the top of the post commemorates his arrival). 
kirkland 034 Saturday’s trip was to downtown Kirkland’s was to introduce Herbie to the community. He appeared in a "Cruise In" day of Kirkland's Classic Car Show; an appearance that sparked several other sentimental journeys:   

There were stories of other ‘Herbie’s’; those college cars and newlywed cars  of Boomer’s youth. One woman recalled a family road trip taken with four kids crammed into the backseat. Laughter. Much laughter as memories included driving without power steering, adequate heat or cooling systems and other modern-day comforts.

One man told his teenage children about his VW, while another fondly recalled that he'd driven the same green-colored Bug, another pondered ways to get his 'Bug' from a mid-western barn to Kirkland for restoration. Two ladies came by, called out to each other in Chinese and began snapping photos of ol’ Herb.

Their stories were many and diverse but all shared a common theme:
An old friend and a sentimental journey.

How about you? What's your sentimental journey?

(Click the movie link to see a Michael Bolton YouTube video musical tribute to the movie's Herbie)

13 comments:

  1. I was privileged to be a part of Herbie's rescue & restoration! I remember the trip to Yakima with Jackie - the start of the incredible journey to Kirkland.
    I remember Herbie in the apartment parking lot in Ellensburg - a signal that Jackie was home & there would be cookies, tea & conversation that evening.
    That was the start of a wonderful friendship, that has continued over the years. Here's to Herbie & his wonderful owner (and friend), Jackie!
    Here's a

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  2. My sister tried to teach me how to drive a stick shift in her VW bug in a supermarket parking lot. Supermarkets didn't stay open until all hours back then, so no one was in danger. I'm afraid I didn't get enough practice and to this day I have to rent automatics. Too bad, especially everywhere but in the US of A.

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    1. My dad tried teaching me a 'stick' in his old red pickup. That continued until the day I nearly took out our white picket fence and then put him under the dash when I jerked to a stop!

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  3. What a great sentimental journey and story. You really brought back memories with "the summer of '72". That was a huge year for me -- but that's another story. :) My brother had a VW bug back then. I think we usually called it "Herb".

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    1. Okay, now you've peeked my interest. Do tell us about the Summer of 72! Thanks for visiting, Cathy!

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  4. Fun post! My first car was a yellow Chevy Vega, loved that car and it had a stick shift. My husband and I made sure our son learned to drive a stick because it's becoming a lost art I think.

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    1. I am so guilty of never learning to drive 'a stick' and when we travel in Europe that is all there is available or so it seems anyway. Thanks for commenting on Herbie's tale!

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  5. A 1968 Beetle was part of my wife's "dowry" and we drove it until the wheels were about to fall off and it was leaking oil like a sieve.

    Over the years it took as many places, including Lake Chelan and Victoria back in 1974.

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    1. My Herbie also made a couple of trips to Chelan but his big road trip was to Pocatello, Idaho where my uncle lived. My mom and dad and a couple of suitcases were tucked inside with me!

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  6. Beetles were all the rage at one time. I enjoyed this tale of Herbie and his rejuvenation. :-)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed 'my ol' boy's' story Debbie. He has been a loyal companion all these decades! Hope to see you back again at TravelnWrite soon!

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  7. I came to this from Trip Down Memory Lane post by Boomeresque. You had me at Herbie! I was a huge fan as a kid and wrote a fun Hollywood cars Top 10 that included him. Thanks for the great memory and I really enjoyed hearing about your Bug :-)

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    1. I'll tell Herbie (who is resting comfortably in our garage) how much you enjoyed his story. Thanks for stopping by, Mike, hope you'll be back soon!

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